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Monday, May 24, 2010

Kids Games: Scrabble Slam

Kids Games: Scrabble Slam
Picture courtesy overboardgames.net


Remember the word game where we change one letter at a time to transform one word to another? Cats <-> Yarn, for instance.

Cats.
Cars.
Bars.
Bark.
Barn.
Yarn.

Of course, the challenge is to come up with shortest number of steps (like, Bars -> Barn above, skipping the Bark) in the transformation, in the shortest time.

Scrabble Slam™ is similar in that we change one letter at a time, yet make meaningful words each time. There are 55 cards which are distributed among the players (2 to 4 players usually). We start with a 4-letter word. Quickness matters. The player to get rid of all their cards first wins. Each play is not more than 15 minutes long.

The added advantage is that the cards each have two letters - one on each side - so, it should technically be easy to make a new word using one or the other letter. But, to me that adds a new level of challenge as the brain tries to come up with options for each letter of each card and tries to form a new word before the other person does.

Ana has taken to it, watching D and me play it on and off. She is still building her vocabulary, so, we are relaxed about speed and validity of the words she comes up with. This gives a great chance for her to put down a card to make a word and wonder is it really a word?, looking at us expectantly.

Of course, when she changes FACT to FART and beams, her unmuffled giggles makes it precious for me.

So, at her level, it is more vocabulary building, quick response, not to mention a fun way to play with words, more than winning the game by adhering to the rules. Now that she is beginning to enjoy it, I see a lot of potential for this game as a learning tool for her, and possibly for Oggie down the road.

The game doesn't really involve waiting one's turn to make the new word - it is fast-paced and high-speed in that one constantly competes with the others to get rid of one's cards by forming new words repeatedly. This poses an additional challenge as the mind tries to transmute a word on the table using the cards at hand, but meanwhile someone else has changed it already and we have to start the thinking process all over.

I love this game as much as Scrabble, if not more. Lacking the killer instinct, I play for fun, whereas D plays to win. So does his mom and his grandma, who always manage to beat me in Scrabble... despite that, I find it addictive and am glad I could get Ana started on it.

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1 Comments:

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Subhashree said...

I didn't know this game. Sounds interesting.

 

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